Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I am not alone. I know a thousand times over that I am not alone. I only exist physically, intellectually, morally, because of millions of others who exist and have existed around me. This isn’t an abstract idea, it’s a slice of life, a simple part of reality. And to those others, I owe everything, absolutely everything, my name, my address, my nose, my skin, the color of my hair, my life and my most secret thoughts, my dreams, and even perhaps the place and hour of my death. And in the same manner that I have been formed, I form, and I make. I am at the same time, father, brother, friend, creator, destroyer, murderer. Who knows? To be born is to be plunged into a small universe, where the relations are without number, where each detail, each second that passes is important and leaves its traces.

JMG Le Clézio in ‘The Habit of Voyaging,’ conversation with Adam Gopnik, in PEN America #11 (2009).

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